The Mother Love

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This week was something, I’ll tell you. I mean, I’m “supposed to” get my blog posts up in a timely manner – first thing every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning these days. But here we are at 6:15 on a Friday night and I’m just now sitting down to write. The baby crashed a bit earlier than usual (it was clearly a long week for him as well) and Jeremy is in the next room folding laundry before he runs out to pick up some take-out.

Throughout the week I compose blog posts of all the things I want to tell you – the real deal, the little victories, and the every day struggles. But each day seems to slip through my fingers and I’m beginning to see what everyone is talking about when they say it goes by so fast. And in each palm I’m weighing my priorities to see which gets my attention on any given day (or in any given moment, really): Fox, Jeremy, new business, friends, food, hygiene, fitness, blogging, emailing, client meetings, coaching, meditation, sexy times … oh, and sleep. At this point I have so many posts pinging in my head I’m not even sure where to begin. So I’ll just start with where I’m at.

If I’m to be completely honest this mom gig is way more challenging than I anticipated and in unexpected ways. For example, I had no idea that the flood of hormones caused by breastfeeding would leave me feeling scattered, unfocused, and unable to remember my words – basically I’m operating like a stoned person. Or I had no idea that the stress of not getting enough sleep would leave me craving sugar which isn’t doing my still recovering body any favors. For some reason I didn’t consider in advance that committing to breastfeeding would also mean compromising my closet to only clothes that can sustain leaks and give Fox easy accessibility to the boob. And every day I’m trying to balance who I am with who I was with who I want to be – adding “good mom” to my list of titles leaves me wondering how I’m also going to manage “adventurer”, “world traveler”, and “badass business woman” too.

But if I’m being completely honest I also have to tell you that I’m so in love it hurts. I’m surprised at how much I love being a mom … and I think I’m pretty good at it. I feel so lucky that Fox chose us. Watching Jeremy kiss Fox’s neck until he erupts in a fit of giggles is probably my favorite thing in the whole world right now. And I’m sure hormones are at play here but I feel physically addicted to my baby – I start to crave him when we’re apart for too long. Having Fox (and perhaps a few episodes of Cosmos) has made me painfully aware of how fragile life is, and how lucky we are to be living in our skin. It’s made me realize that life truly is too short to waste it on the kinds of unproductive emotions that seem to come with the post-partum package including guilt, embarrassment, and overwhelm just to name a few. It’s become clear that life is too short to be living in anything less than love… The mother love.

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P.S. At about 6 weeks postpartum I recognized that I was struggling and I needed help to nip some shit in the bud. That’s where my momma coach, Rebecca Egbert, comes in. You might remember how Rebecca helped me through my daycare dilemma. These days Rebecca holds me accountable to being the kind of mom and person I want to be. She gives me physiological insights (I swear pregnancy, breastfeeding, and postpartum recovery make me feel like a clueless teenager going through puberty again) that make me feel a little less crazy in my body. We talk about the important stuff that easily gets overlooked – things like sleep, healing foods, and how to stop peeing myself when doing jumping jacks. And we talk just enough about balancing business as a working mom that I can legitimately write-off a good chunk of her fee. But Rebecca also gives me some spiritual soul food that not only opens my heart (daily practices in gratitude) but keeps me grounded and rooted (meditation is where it’s at). The work we do together keeps me operating at my best so when things get hard I can show up as the warrior mama I want to be.

If you’re a mom (or are pregnant… or even thinking about making babies) you should be following Rebecca:
www.rebeccaegbert.com – the blog and newsletter are golden
instagram.com/rebeccaegbert – where Rebecca preaches #themotherlove on the daily

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So now it’s your turn. What’s unexpectedly hard about being a mom? What’s unexpectedly awesome? Share with me in the comments. 

Photo by Ely Fair Photography at the Collected Thread Love Mom Well event.

Friends Like This

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Friends like this have seen you through it all. New beginnings and dramatic endings. They know exactly when to pour you a glass of wine – and they always know when you’ve had one too many. Friends like this could recite your history like a campfire tale. They were there. They’ll hold your secrets tight, and your babies even tighter. They’ll make space for the details of your dreams and they’ll say “of course” when you watch them come true.

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I’m so grateful for these snaps Liz’s husband (husband!!!) Micah got of the two of us while we were in Asheville, NC together for their elopement

Adventures With Fox

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I knew from the moment I decided to get together with Jeremy that I wanted to see the world with him. We started small and easy – with an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Though, I should have known we were game for adventure when we took an overpacked collectivo with the locals to explore Tulum.) From there we tried out a cruise with Jeremy’s mom and grandma that took us around New England and Canada. Our first adventure overseas was to Nepal and a couple years later we backpacked our way through Eastern Europe and the High Tatras. And more recently we spent a couple weeks in Sayulita – Fox was just a bean in my belly. I was under the impression that we needed to get all of our travel out of the way before we had a kid. I’m glad we had our adventures, just the two of us, sure. But having a baby does not mean we’re done.

So just like our world travels, we’re starting small when it comes to our adventures with Fox. At 4 weeks old a walk around the park felt like quite the outing. Even a trip to the grocery store with a baby felt not a lot unlike navigating a foreign country.

So when it came to actually traveling we decided Fox’s first trip would be amongst friends. Something low key and easy. Last week we traveled to Asheville, NC to celebrate my 32nd birthday and the top secret elopement of Liz and Micah. As easy as we were making it on ourselves, it hasn’t been since Jeremy went back to work after a 5-week long paternity leave that we’ve spent so much uninterrupted time together as a family. And Liz and Micah have never spent so much time with a baby, period.

Not only did Fox travel like a pro, I was surprised that taking a vacation with him still felt like well … a vacation. We slept in and had slow conversations over coffee and infamous Micah breakfasts. We went to a couple of restaurants and explored downtown Asheville. We were sure to hit up the grocery store and stay in for dinner a couple nights that week. (Some of my favorite kinds of vacations are the ones that require a trip or two to the grocery store). It felt so right to be sharing a bottle of wine on the back deck of the rented house with my nearest and dearest while Fox fell into his dreams on a bed far from home.

And of course we celebrated the beginning of Liz and Micah’s marriage with an elopement under a waterfall. With me officiating and just Fox and Jeremy in attendance as best man and man of honor it was no big deal when Fox needed to be fed in the middle of the ceremony.

And then on our way back home, Fox got his first taste of true adventure when we had to spend the night in the airport spooning on a cot. By definition, adventures are what happens when the unexpected throws you off course. While normally this kind of inconvenience would be all too irritating it was kind of novel to experience it with Fox. The whole trip made me feel a bit more brave and confident about stepping out into the world with my little baby. Maybe it’s time to get him his first passport.

Cosmos

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Have you been watching Cosmos?

This is pretty much the question I begin every conversation with these days. I’m not quite old enough to remember the original series created by Carl Sagan – but I’m really digging the revival brought to us by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and the talent that brings us Family Guy Seth MacFarlane. (An odd coupling if you ask me … but it works.) Cosmos uses the scientific method to break down big questions of the universe and the true nature of reality. And if you’re open to it, it will blow your mind with perspective.

But first, can we talk about how amazing Neil deGrasse Tyson is? He’s probably the kindest and most personable astrophysicist there ever was. He’s wicked smart, clearly, but he’s also kind. And he almost ventures into Mr. Rogers territory when he takes us on the “Ship of the Imagination” to explore the depths of ocean and the far corners of the universe. It’s obvious after watching a few episodes that deGrasse Tyson is not only passionate about his own career in astrophysics but he’s passionate about fostering the potential in the future scientists and curious minds who might be watching his show. In fact, I can’t help but think of Fox one day finding inspiration in deGrasse Tyson’s infectious enthusiasm. I also love how science is spiritual for Tyson. I feel the same.

But back to Cosmos being a bit mind blowing. The universe is huge, y’all. I know that’s a given but in an episode of Cosmos that made it visual I left one episode feeling like a tiny, insignificant speck of dust. I considered not even getting out of bed the next day. Then in the very next episode Cosmos explored our existence down to the tiniest molecule and I felt lucky to be alive and ready to take on the world. So, if we’re just a bunch of molecules bound together by what feels like luck in a universe that is larger than comprehension we might as well love hard and take risks, right? Right.

So, watch Cosmos. It airs weekly on Fox and National Geographic.

Flying with Baby

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We booked our first family vacation (more on that later) with Fox when he was still going through a fierce phase of witching hour meltdowns. So the idea of boarding a plane with a seemingly emotionally unstable newborn made me more than anxious. I began scouring the internet for articles with numbered lists with pro tips on how to travel with a baby. Aside from breastfeeding during takeoff I couldn’t find much help. It turns out there isn’t much in the way of tips and tricks when it comes to flying with an infant – because really there’s not much you can do beyond just doing your best. So in order to prepare myself for Fox’s first flight I imagined the worst – inconsolable tears, irritated businessmen, and blowouts of epic proportion.

Everyone says to expect the unexpected – I had been so busy preparing for the worst that I didn’t expect to have a chill baby who is a total champ at traveling. Fox loved being carried through the airport in his Sakura Bloom sling. He smiled at strangers. He managed to time his poops perfectly for just after landing. The passengers on our planes couldn’t help but comment on what a sweet, cute baby we have.

I also didn’t expect to have to spend the night at the airport due to inclement weather followed by an available crew unwilling to work a little bit of overtime to get a full plane of passengers from Dallas to Oklahoma City (a 29 minute long flight). Fox and I slept face-to-face together on a cot under a thin fleece blanket. And by sleep I mean closed eyes while trying to ignore the bright lights, bustling cleaning crew, and freezing AC.

But more than anything… I didn’t expect to be so grateful to be traveling with a baby. My baby. I was grateful that I had something a bit more meaningful to focus on than my own self-absorbed and trite travel frustrations. I was grateful that if I had to spend the night in the airport I got to do it with my little family – I was so glad we were all together. I was grateful that my baby seemed to delight the other distressed passengers – he brought a little light, levity, and big toothless grins to an otherwise miserable situation. I was grateful that while it wasn’t the best time ever that we now have a memorable story – that ended with us all home safe – to tell about Fox’s first flight.

But if you’re stumbling upon this page looking for some more than an anecdote here are some tips for traveling with an infant:
• Feed your baby during take off, descent, and as much as possible in between. For as much work as breastfeeding can be it was super convenient for traveling. I wore a scarf which has become a wardrobe staple for a bit of discretion when it comes to feeding Fox in public.
• Wear your baby. I love carrying Fox kangaroo style (facing out with his legs tucked in) in the Sakura Bloom through the airport. You can even wear your baby through security – but I recommend using an Ergo or another carrier without any metal.
• Pack light. At one point I considered packing Fox’s little play gym and maybe a portable high chair. I also thought it might be a good idea to pack my breast pump, just in case. But all the stuff is just not necessary. All he needed, really, were a few diapers, a change of clothes, his swaddle blankets, a pacifier, and us. I did load a few baby apps on the iPad just in case but he’s still a little young to care much about that.

If you have more tips for traveling with babies (by plane, train, or car) please leave them in the comments. 

P.S. All photos taken with an iPhone 5S and edited with the VSCO app. (Another way to travel light is to leave the DSLR at home).